Tag: Parenting

Being Fun Parents

 


Being Fun Parents

Yesterday afternoon when I picked my daughter (5) up from school, she was upset because we are not the “fun parents”. She said that we yelled at her all the time, and that we told her off too much.

She said that she wished someone else was her parents.

I was shocked and a little upset, but to start with I didn’t show her that. I questioned her and what she meant, and we spent the 5 minute drive home chatting about it.

My heart did break.

If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) you will have seen that when we got home, I changed it up a bit and we did have some fun.

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After the kids went to bed, and Chloe and I had a chat, I realised where the comments from her may have come from.

When she was sick, my Mum came over (her Gran) and she had a lot of fun with her. Just like most kids have with their Grandparents, or Aunties, or Uncles, or ANYONE outside of the immediate parental unit.

When we debriefed together at bedtime, I explained to her that we will always be parents first and friends second – and that every other parent out there is the same.

I explained that “Gran and Pa” will always be more fun than Mum and Dad.

And that’s right – Grandparents (for the most part) have done their time as parents, and it’s their time to enjoy the grandkids.

They don’t have to parent the child 24/7, so they can be the fun ones.

Of course I realise she might not understand this, but one day she will and until then I will be doing my best to encourage her to continue talking to me when she feels upset about something.

I am beyond proud of her for telling me how she felt, and I hear her loud and clear.

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It is a hard wake up call for me but one that I truly appreciate I have the opportunity to have.

Our family have a lot of fun together, but we are always parents first because it’s our job to guide our children in this world.

Yes I do yell at my kids. Yes I do tell them off. But we also laugh a lot more than both of those things and for me that is just as important. Our family is full of fun and laughter, but with guidance inbetween.

What do you think? Parents first, friends second?

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Our Struggle With Asthma

Constantly Sick Child

 


Our Struggle With Asthma

Has anyone seen the ad on TV about New Zealand lactose going into asthma inhalers? It totally blew my mind! It also really touched home for me because Chloe has asthma, and for a long time we struggled because we had no idea what was happening …

BACKSTORY

When Chloe was 4 years old, she developed a chronic cough. For 6 months she would have it, and we had no idea what caused it. When she got a cold, it got worse; much worse.

We tried a nebuliser, and herbal cough syrup.  We raised the head of her bed, and tried eucalyptus oil.  We gave her teaspoons of honey, and started her on probiotics. We even swapped the kids around – so my boy was now in my girls room, and she’s went into his room. Just to see if it made a difference – it didn’t.

We even had her tested for allergies.

We actually ended up in hospital a couple of times because it turned into croup.

The One With The Hospital

Eventually, during one of our hospital stays, her oxygen levels were so low they started considering asthma. Her levels didn’t increase, so she was admitted to a ward and placed under observation.

It was then, the doctors said “yes it’s asthma” and we were given the appropriate assistance to help her at home (inhalers).

It was a really long and rough 6 months though, to get to that point. Nobody got any sleep, and we were incredibly worried for Chloe; and as parents really had no idea what we were doing.

Whilst a lot of people experience wheezing and shortness of breath with their asthma, Chloe had the cough-variant type – which meant she coughed to try and help her lungs get more air, and to clear what was in them (even though there was nothing there, they were just having trouble getting air).

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WHAT WE DO NOW:

After the asthma diagnosis, we were given inhalers to manage Chloe’s breathing – these have been absolutely crucial in stopping the constant cough and giving her system a break from the breathing struggle.

We also worked really hard to ensure her room wasn’t damp, and was at a consistent temperature. We brought in an oil heater which has a thermostat to keep the room warm during the winter nights.

We also invested in an Ultrasonic Vapouriser – which vibrates cold water to produce a fine mist.

As I said above though – the truly amazing thing were the inhalers that we received. Since starting Chloe on this we haven’t had a single problem with her asthma.

I just found out the other day through the ad on TV, that there is inhalable lactose in inhalers. Did you know that the lactose takes the important drug (that helps the asthma) to the part of the body that needs it the most?

In fact, the lactose that’s in most inhalers comes from our very own cows right here in New Zealand; making it the most pure lactose in the world.

New Zealand is the largest provider of inhalable lactose in the world.

I personally find that fascinating and am very proud to have New Zealand milk able to help so many people with asthma, including my own daughter.

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Chloe’s asthma is still under control thanks to the inhalers, and we are absolutely grateful for all the help and assistance we’ve gotten since the diagnosis.

If you’d like to learn more about inhalable lactose, visit the Fonterra website.

Thank you Fonterra for making such an educative advert about inhalable lactose and for sponsoring this post.

Celebrating The Dads

 


Celebrating The Dads

This sponsored post is a collaboration between myself and Noel Leeming, to celebrate Father’s Day.

My husband, Phil, is my rock. I seriously couldn’t do this parenting gig without him.

Early on after our eldest was born, we realised that I struggled big time to get back to sleep at night. So once I fed Chloe, Phil would take over and rock her to sleep and put her down. Once we introduced a bottle, he also helped feed her … this meant I got the chance to go to bed and drift off to sleep without worrying about anything.

Phil, naturally, just lies down and falls asleep – I wish I had that talent!!

For my first Mother’s Day, Phil paid for me to get special ear plugs which meant if I was having a rough day, I could go to bed at night and not hear the children crying – and he would get up to them.

When I was diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression, Phil took it upon himself to take our daughter out as much as possible – to give me a break.

He did, and still does, the main grocery shop on the weekend with the kids – to give me a break.

He used to take Chloe out for long walks, so that I could go back to bed on the weekend (if I needed it), or to catch up on things I had missed during the week (like movies LOL).

He did his best to understand and help me when I was at my lowest point before being diagnosed with Depression.

Even though Phil worked a full time job, he would often come home and cook the dinner for us.

Phil gives the kids a bath every night – that in itself deserves a medal really.

Phil bakes, cooks, cleans cars, mows lawns, fixes the house … EVERYTHING: he does it with the kids.

Phil does his best to understand that although I don’t work in a traditional 9-5 paid job, that I am still working and that at the end of the day, it’s a team effort that gets us through.

Through all the ups and downs that I have experienced, Phil has been the one constant thing in my life. He is the most kind, caring, understanding and loving husband and father I’ve ever known (of course!). I am blessed to have him as my best friend, and my children are even more blessed to have him as their Father.

Now that I have had some experience as a Mother, I can look to my own Father and realise how amazing he is too. Phil is very similar to my own Dad, and I am beyond grateful for my Dad for raising myself and my brothers and sister the way he did.

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Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. It’s remembering that although they don’t change the toilet roll, or empty the dishwasher, that they’re still great guys.

Being a Dad is just as challenging as being a Mum – it has it’s own challenges. Fatherhood has it’s own ups and downs, and should be recognised just as much as that of the Mother.

The kids and I sat down and we talked about how amazing Dads can be, and how lucky they are to have such an amazing Dad in their life (they’re level of understanding about this isn’t that great, but the more we talk about it the more they’ll get it).

We talked about getting something for Phil, and went to the Noel Leeming website to check out what they had. We used their special Gifting Gizmo quiz, which helps to find the perfect gift, and here are some of the things that came up for Phil that I think you guys might like the look of too …

Just as a note, the first two we already have but we use them both ALL the time and I can highly recommend them ….

As I said above, if you need a little more inspiration – Noel Leeming has set up an online quiz to help you find the perfect gift using the:

Are you all sorted for Father’s Day?

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I have a Google Chromecast from Noel Leeming for one lucky person!!! Absolutely perfect to give as a gift this Father’s Day.

TO ENTER:
Comment on this post! Just tell me if you want it!

EXTRA ENTRIES:
Head back to Facebook and follow the instructions on the post that brought you here.

Closes 31st August 2017. Open to New Zealand residents only – sorry everyone else!

Criticising Myself

 


Criticising Myself

It’s terrible, but I criticise myself and my parenting way too much.

The other day (in fact right now) I look back on my journey as a parent and I seriously question myself.

I look at my children and I think “they’ve gotten this far purely by luck, because I haven’t really done anything for them“.

I look forward to the times alone; I take every opportunity to have a moment to myself and I worry that because of this, I am a useless parent.

I know it’s not true though – I’ve been there for them through thick and thin when they were babies, even if I did dream about being able to go to work and escape the insanity that was parenting.

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I know, like every parent, I stayed up feeding them, burping them and then agonising over trying to get them to sleep.

I know that I teach my children it’s ok to cry and be themselves.

I know that from a young age, every time we went up and down stairs, I would count; so that they would start learning.

I know that we try and teach our children that it’s ok not to like someone, but you have to be kind to them.

I know I have taught them a whole lot of things which lead them to be the way they are now …

But I can’t help but look back on it, and then look at where they are now and think “that’s purely by luck because I honestly don’t feel like I’ve been there at all for them”.

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I’m not the biggest fan of “pretend play” – mainly because I just can’t fully immerse myself in it.

Even though I have a crap tonne of activities here on my website, I often feel too lazy to set them up and do them.

I don’t often bake with my kids because I can’t be bothered with the mess.

I think it’s because of what I said above PLUS the fact that I enjoy the time to myself and feel like even though I’m HERE, I’m not HERE.

I know I am way too hard on myself, but these are thoughts that go through my mind as a parent.

Does that even make any sense?

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The Perfect Parent


© Can Stock Photo / prawny

 


The Perfect Parent

There is no such thing as a “perfect parent”.

I see so many times online when someone writes a comment about how they do something different from others, and out of the woodwork comes the comment “oh here comes the perfect parents”. Or “perfect parent alert!”.

Nobody is perfect.

Everybody is just striving to do the best for their children and their family.

Exclusively breastfed? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Never has takeaways? Not perfect, just doing their best.
No TV during the day? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Washes their kids PJs every day. Not perfect, just doing their best.
Doesn’t allow their child to play on devices? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Able to afford things that others can’t? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Vacuums every day. Not perfect, just doing their best.
Doesn’t yell at their children? Not perfect, just doing their best.

We all live different lives, and have had completely different upbringings. This helps to shape us into the person we are today – defines our decisions we make as a parent.

That doesn’t make anyone “perfect”.

You can’t see what goes on behind the scenes of someone’s life. They might have a perceived one moment of “perfect parenting” but in fact they’re just regular like ALL of us.

If you flip the coin, the same goes for being a “shit parent”. Just because someone doesn’t do what other’s do, doesn’t make them a shit parent either.

Every single person (for the most part) is just doing their best, regardless of what anyone thinks.

Just because someone does it differently from you doesn’t make them any better or any worse than you – it pays to remember that before commenting online.

Have you been called a perfect parent? Or a shit parent?

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My Netflix Suggestions (Part 2)


© Can Stock Photo / damedeeso


My Netflix Suggestions (Part 2)

Stuck on a movie to watch tonight? Or a show to start? Here are is a list from me to you … I have either seen these, or want to see them and are all available on Netflix right now.

Click on the title name to go to the IMDB listing which has the synopsis and rating.

TV SHOWS:

MOVIES:

These are just some of the many that I want to watch and/or have watched and recommend. Netflix is FULL of amazing shows and movies to watch.

To check out my other recommendations, check out My Netflix Suggestions list.

What are you watching tonight?

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How To Lose Weight: Parent Edition


© Can Stock Photo / monkeybusiness

 


How To Lose Weight: Parent Edition

Not going to lie, losing weight as I get older is becoming harder and harder.

Also, my love for food deepens each year.

After having kids, exercising is the last thing on my mind, and eating healthy often takes a back seat. Then there’s the fact that parenting is stressful so we tend to stress eat, or stress drink.

So here’s a “real life” guide as to losing weight as a parent … only six easy steps!

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STEP ONE:

Stop eating your kid’s leftovers. Seriously – that shit adds up in our system and before you know it the kid’s leftovers become you adding extra just so you can eat it at the end. Start a compost bin and throw the leftovers in there, or keep them in the fridge for later and make your kids finish them off.

I always make my kids eat it before having anything else. If they come home from school with lunch left, then it becomes their afternoon tea.

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STEP TWO:

Just go for a walk. Seriously, f*ck running; just go for a walk. You could walk 20 paces down the road from your letterbox and it’ll be better than what you’re doing. Park far away from the supermarket so you can walk a little extra bit. “Going for a walk” doesn’t mean you have to kit up in your active wear and walk for an hour – it simply means do a little bit extra.

If I’m feeling extra cooped up with the kids, sometimes we just walk to the end of the road together. Exercise for everyone. You don’t have to get your heart racing for it to count.

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STEP THREE:

Don’t eat shit food. Really simple guys, just make better choices when it comes to food. You don’t have to be a salad-eating-sugar-free Mum (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but just make better choices.

I still have sugar in my coffee each morning – I’m not a monster. I try and cut down on takeaways, and eat smaller portions. Don’t make your life a misery because we all know food is life. Just make better choices. Eat fruit instead of biscuits (Bleugh I know but just do it haha).

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STEP FOUR:

Save the wine for a Friday. Give yourself something to look forward to during the week and save that wine for Friday evening. I know it’s hard because kids / parenting drives us to drink most days, but believe me when I say having something to look forward to (like wine on a Friday) helps me get through the week.

AND if you do have a shitty day: drink that f’ing wine. Some days just call for it.

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STEP FIVE:

Just f’ing eat less. Oh and drink more water. Have one helping instead of two. Choose a small Big Mac combo instead of a large. Keep it real, just eat less shit.

Choose water instead of a coke. Or limit your coke to once a day. Baby steps.

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STEP SIX:

Have a treat day. Make it Saturday and f’k the rest of the week. Not only will you eat less during the week but it’ll also give you something to look forward to. I find as a parent, getting through the week by having something to look forward to is a great way to get along.

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Let’s be realistic here: you don’t have to make big changes to lose weight. You’re still a parent, and as I said above, parenting is hard. Take SMALL steps. Make small changes.

Don’t criticise yourself if you have a bad day and end up eating more than you should. Start fresh tomorrow; each day is a new day.

ALSO: I do realise that losing weight shouldn’t be the end goal. Being healthy should be. Which is why if you try hard and take baby steps, you will be healthy because of the choices you make.

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The Apps My Kids Use

 


The Apps My Kids Use

I get asked this question a lot: “Maria what apps do your kids play with on the iPad”, and up until recently I couldn’t answer because they really didn’t play anything.

I mean, sure they watched YouTube Kids, but that’s about it.

HOWEVER, once Chloe started school, things changed a bit as they gave us a list of apps that would help support her learning whilst at home. So I downloaded those apps, and along with a favourite of ours (you’ll see that below) they became the staples in my kids “app list”.

For me personally, I prefer the kids not to play game games … if that makes sense. I would prefer them to play a game that is educational. So that they’re learning whilst enjoying the device.

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SCREENTIME ALLOWANCE:

I only allow my children to play on a device AFTER the bath at night for about 30 minutes. UNLESS they’re sick, or it’s the weekend and we’re feeling extra special.

What you choose to do is your business – you know what works best for you and your children!

POLICING THE TIME:

I usually use a timer on my phone, or just a regular egg timer. It’s especially good if one child wants to have a turn, and then you need to remember to give your other child a turn.

FAVOURITE APPS:

Here are my personal favourite apps for my kids to play (or have on the device):

  1. YouTube Kids
  2. Reading Eggs (my kids’ favourite)
  3. Block! Hexa
  4. Candy Adv
  5. Cookie Jam (a game)
  6. Slither (a game)
  7. 10FrameFill (school recommended)
  8. Eggy 100 HD (school recommended)
  9. Eggy Alphabet (school recommended)
  10. Slide 100 (school recommended)
  11. Ollies Handwriting & Phonics (school recommended)
  12. Epic! (school recommended)

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If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) you sometimes see my kids playing on these, which is why I thought I’d share here.

Do your kids play on devices? What apps do they use?

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My Labour Stories

 


My Labour Stories

Let me start of by first saying – I don’t deal with pain very well. So even before I got pregnant, I knew I wanted pain relief during birth. I made sure my Obstetrician knew I wanted one early on too – so there were no surprises.

I had an OB (instead of going through my GP / Midwife) because I am a worry-wart. I worry about everything, and my parents kindly paid for me to have one to help alleviate any fears I had. Then when I was pregnant with Ronan, my insurance covered it.

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CHLOE:

39 Weeks Pregnant – I woke up one morning, the day after shifting a whole heap of furniture, and found my waters had broken (a slow leak). After consulting with my OB, we decided to leave it 24 hours and see if anything happened. When it didn’t, I was booked in for an induction.

I was induced the following morning at 7.30am. I feel because I was already on my way to giving birth, my induction went quite well.

The pain wasn’t fun, at all.

I tried walking, didn’t help. Sitting, didn’t help. Lying, didn’t help. NOTHING helped.

When active labour kicked in (10 hours later), I was on the gas. That wasn’t helping – just making me feel sick, so I said “EPIDURAL TIME”.

The epidural was the worst. It hurt to put that bitch in. Plus I had contractions throughout the whole thing.

My husband was feeling a bit woozy from the whole “epidural-going-in” ordeal, so he had to sit down while the epidural went in and suddenly amongst all of this drama my waters broke.

It was like the flood gates opening up; I actually thought I had shit myself.

Everyone got wet – Phil, the midwives, me.

After cleaning up, my epidural had kicked in and it was wonderful.

We put music on, and my OB came in with Burger King and we chilled out until I suddenly felt like I needed to do a poo.

Then it was time to push. After an hour of pushing, Chloe was born.

7lbs 14ozs at 9.45pm the night that I got induced.

I had an episiotomy, and yep, I pooped myself. Although I worried about the pooping myself part, I had no idea it had happened. Phil didn’t tell me until way after the birth LOOOLLL

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RONAN:

42 Weeks Pregnant – Ronan didn’t want to come out, so I was induced. 

After 12 hours of painful contractions (Ronan was posterior so the contractions were way worse than with Chloe), my waters finally broke when I stood up to go to the toilet. FINALLY things were starting to progress (at that point I was over it).

The contractions were starting to kill me, but were still irregular, so I got put on syntocinon to help speed things up.

This was when I asked for the epidural.

This time, not only did it hurt but it didn’t really work properly. One side of my body still felt things, which started making me worried.

Then the monitors started showing that Ronan was struggling a bit, so after my OB checked him he realised he wasn’t coming down.

Ronan wasn’t coming out of this stressed state (his heart rate was low), so I was taken in very quickly to have an emergency c-section performed.

I was the most scared I had ever been in my life. I had no idea what was happening.

I pulled the anaesthetist in close and said “I better not feel this” and then pulled my OB in and said “I’m really scared”.

Thankfully they were both great.

Ronan was born via emergency c-section at 5.30am the following morning.

9lbs 6ozs.

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I worried during each pregnancy, and the labour/birth always scared me. Especially the first time. The unknown is the worst. I was actually petrified

I got through it though, and I’d do it again in a heart beat if it was to happen.

My OB was amazing, as were the midwives who worked alongside him to help bring my children into the world.

I birthed at Middlemore both times, and both times I was treated extremely well.

I also had a stay at BirthCare after Chloe was born, sadly couldn’t make it there after Ronan but only because of the recovery.

How was the birth of your child/children? Care to share? 

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Sunday As A Parent

© Can Stock Photo / lenm

 


Sunday As A Parent

Aaah Sunday. The coveted day of rest. Where we lie around recovering from our raging Saturday night, and do nothing.

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Fried breakfasts, coffee and lots of lazing about.

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Movies on Netflix; OR gaming. AAAH I miss gaming.

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Sometimes, you might not even open the curtains.

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And the chance we will interact with others is zero. Because NOBODY really wants to talk to anyone, ever.

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WAKE UP! WAKKKEEE UPPPP … you’re a parent. None of that applies to you.

You will probably never sleep. In fact, 6am will be a sleep in.

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You’ll be lucky to drink your coffee warm.

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Lazing about on a Sunday is a thing of the past, your children will demand your attention.

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You might be able to pop a movie on, but the kids’ attention span is that of a goldfish and before you’ve had time to relax they’re already bored.

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If you’re brave enough, you’ll venture out into the world, only to be swiftly reminded why you never take kids out on the weekend; or at all really.

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And then after an exhausting day, you remember that tomorrow is Monday …

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